Do you have MS or has the doctor told you you might? Today we are talking about Multiple Sclerosis, what it is and what natural treatments are available, some of which are know to not only reverse symptoms but actually create a remission and reverse symptoms.
You might think its weird to think of MS as your doctor “thinking you might have it” but here is the thing - Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune condition, and we know that it takes an average of 5 years for people to land with a diagnosis - a label for the symptoms.
Like other autoimmune diseases there is not specific test to determine that you for sure have MS. It’s usually a combination of symptoms and then sometimes there is some MRI testing that can be done.
And since there is no boxes to check, it is often said conventionally that Multiple Sclerosis has no cure. And while I’m not claiming to be able to “cure” MS - the good news is we know that we can reverse the condition (like many other “incurable” autoimmune diseases). So lets talk about it.
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Episode 82: Consequences of Common Medications
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Transcript: Multiple Sclerosis
What is Multiple Sclerosis?
Multiple refers to “many” and sclerosis refers to “damage” so loosely you could look at it as many areas of damage. This occurs mainly in the myelin sheath which is the tissue or encasing that covers nerves helping nerves transmit signals throughout the body. This leaves large parts of the nerve uncovered.
Think of a cucumber - you have that nice peel covering it that would be like the myelin sheath and the fruit underneath would be the nerve . If you were to take a vegetable peeler and just peel a couple of sections out of it and then place it back in the fridge - what would happen? There would be quite a bit of damage to the fruit underneath, right? It would start to cause malfunction right there in those sections.
When the myelin is damaged is called demyelination and this usually starts to show up early with symptoms around sensation changes with the sense of touch. Then it can progress to loss of strength in on limb, or more mildly a burning or tingling or itching.
Eventually with damage to the coverings or myelin over the nerves, and signals all over the body, including the brain, eyes, and spinal cord can slow down or stop completely. If left untreated or only symptoms are managed, then the brain can shrink and decrease mental abilities like learning, thinking, reasoning, remembering, speaking, problem solving and decision making.
Symptoms of MS
The National Multiple Sclerosis Society calls MS unpredictable and disabling. And its easy to see why, MS strikes many as young adults and can cause symtpoms that range from sensory issues, to motor control (muscle movements and coordination) and everything in between.
Some of the common symptoms can include:
- vision changes
- mental impairment
- lack of coordination all the way to paralyzation
- loss of balance
- numbness, tingling, reduced sense of touch
- shock feeling travel through the body
- burning, itching, pain
- cramping, spasms, weakness in limbs
- trouble walking
- mood issues
- sexual dysfunction and symptoms
- digestive symptoms
- speech troubles
- partial paralyzation
Interestingly, the body’s innate desire to heal is super apparent with MS. You see its not uncommon for the body to repair these myelin sheaths and then symptoms go into remission and then as they start to damage again, they relapse.
MS is most common in women, ages 20-40, with a history of smoking, history of vitamin D deficiency, and childhood obesity.
What causes Multiple Scerolsis
As I mentioned at the top of the episode, MS is an autoimmune condition that has roots in autoimmune response, dysfunctioning or leaky gut microbiome, and ever escalating inflammation. In short, the body’s immune system marks and remembers the myelin as invaders and launches immune cells against the nervous system.
Like other autoimmune conditions, MS isn’t a disease of the nervous system, that is a symptom of the underlying root causes of the disease. The disease “lands” in the nervous system because that is where the weakness is.
Like any other chronic disease, the expression of MS is a tree with many roots. Some of the common roots are viruses and infections (like herpesvirus), mold toxicity, heavy metal or other toxin exposure, vitamin D deficiency (especially in the first 15 years of life), food allergies, intolerances, and sensitivities, immunization, genetic heredity, hormonal imbalances, inflammatory diet.
Often flares are triggered by similar patterns - illness like fever, flu, or other immune stressing issue, lack of sleep, overexertion, dehydration, extra hot temperatures, and hormonal fluctuations.
Conventional Treatment for MS
As with most autoimmune diseases the default treatment is steroids to reduce inflammation. You can see right here in episode 82 (look under Prednisone) what the common issue is with taking steroids long term. It has about a 60% failure rate and well, you can check out the risks in episode 82.
A new up and coming option is stem cell therapy of Multiple Sclerosis. It has better staying power than just steroids but the risks and treatment plan are long and difficult. It starts with chemotherapy to kill the immune system completely - and then stem cell treatment for repair.
This stem cell treatment only has a 6% failure rate, so its better than steroids BUT long term damage of chemotherapy...yikes.
Please know that I take a “yes and approach” if you are in a flare to the point of require conventional treatment, then yes do it, but know that just like a heart bypass, these treatments don’t heal or even encourage actual healing. So to continue with just mask the symptoms means that you will continue to cycle through debilitating issues and brief periods of wellness.
Healing Help for Multiple Sclerosis
Foods to include are a lot of good fats and a lot of antioxidants. Good fats are important for our nervous system and brain function. That really includes whole foods that have been processed as little as possible. You will find this in coconut oils, avocados, flax, chia for your fats. And then as MANY vegetables and fruits as you can fit on your plate. Those with particularly helpful compounds include brussel sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, legumes, herbs, tomatoes, carrots, watermelon, sweet potatoes, winter squash, dandelion greens, garlic, leeks, asparagus, yellow or green bananas - the list goes on and on. These powerful plants provide fiber, polyphenols, antioxidants, carotenoids, lycopene, and prebiotics.
Foods to avoid can be a little different for all people and depend on your specific allergies, intolerances, and sensitivities. These are really critical to manage in order to understand and manage your inflammation which leads to the expression of your multiple sclerosis. Most often its advised to avoid foods with more than 1 ingredient. Avoid foods with lots of fatty acids from animal origin, artificial sweeteners, alcohol, MSG, and often gluten and cow’s milk.
Balancing your minerals is also a critical part of healing MS. Ensuring that your body is getting the minerals it needs to send messages will help curb MS symptoms as well as ensure that any energetic work, works.
Physical movement is not considered a normal focus for MS sufferers but I beg to differ, it has been show to reduce fatigue and improve stress management as well as delay the onset of disability. The key is that the medicine can’t be given at too high of a dose. Consider yoga or tai chi as primary forms of beneficial movement. These 2 forms of movement also incorporate a meditative practice.
Movement benefits people with MS by increasing the body’s ability to metabolize oxidative stress and reduce inflammation.
Supplements for MS
We know that our higher power, in all the infinite wisdom made sure that eating whole plant foods is the very best way to get our nutrients. That being said, sometimes it can be beneficial to add somethings supplementally for support while healing. You may consider adding a probiotic, omega 3 supplement, and b12.
Additionally, a vitamin D deficiency is known to have really negative effects on the immune system and is suggested to supplement a sublingual D3 + K2 for all autoimmune sufferers.
Frankincense and Helichrysum work well to support the nervous system and reduce inflammation. Frankincense has also been studied to help nerve regeneration and functional recovery.
For symptoms reach for basil and cypress oil, these improve circulation and muscular functions.
Including these in specific energy medicine techniques for MS will boost both the energetic work and the work of the oils.
To wrap this up
If you are suffering from MS know that I fully empathize with your situtation. It IS hard. I know many people who have been diagnosed with “maybe” having MS and that is scary too. The truth is whether you have the symptoms or the official label, know that it is critical to take the YES and approach. The body wants to heal, innately it is in your DNA to heal, you just have to give it the right ingredients. That may mean taking something short term or using a conventional treatment short term to get out of immediate danger BUT always follow that up with functional and integrative help so that you can give your body the ingredients to HEAL.
Thanks for listening to the Naturalistic Nurse Podcast, if you’d like to contribute to this podcasting effort of getting the work out about how to shift your practice to ditch the bandaid fix and shift to root cause resolutions that stick be sure and subscribe, rate and leave a review - I’d be oh- so grateful.